An Officer and A Spy

An Officer and A Spy

A Novel

Audiobook CD - 2013
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Paris in 1895. Alfred Dreyfus, a young Jewish officer, has just been convicted of treason, sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island, and stripped of his rank in front of a baying crowd of twenty-thousand. Among the witnesses to his humiliation is Georges Picquart, the ambitious, intellectual, recently promoted head of the counterespionage agency that "proved" Dreyfus had passed secrets to the Germans. At first, Picquart firmly believes in Dreyfus's guilt. But it is not long after Dreyfus is delivered to his desolate prison that Picquart stumbles on information that leads him to suspect that there is still a spy at large in the French military. As evidence of the most malignant deceit mounts and spirals inexorably toward the uppermost levels of government, Picquart is compelled to question not only the case against Dreyfus but also his most deeply held beliefs about his country, and about himself.
Publisher: New York, NY : Random House Audio, p2013
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9780804165679
Branch Call Number: TALK HARRIS CD
Characteristics: 13 sound discs (16 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Additional Contributors: Rintoul, David 1948-
Alternative Title: Officer and a spy
Officer & a spy


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Nov 04, 2017

Four stars. I didn't think I would like this book and was prepared to abandon it if it was boring. However, the author managed to make a period of history interesting and suspenseful. I only vaguely remembered the Dreyfus affair from my French history class. This book also taught me about the strong anti-semetic attitudes of the French during those times. Not a light read, but a good one.

May 29, 2015

Historical fiction set in 1890's France, about the so-called "Dreyfus Affair". A French military officer -- Dreyfus --- was convicted of selling France's military secrets to the Germans. A French counter-intelligent agent -- the novel's protagonist Picquart -- later discovered the conviction was a fraud, Dreyfus didn't do it, and set about to free Dreyfus from prison. The issue wasn't so much the secrets sold; they were of a trivial and unimportant nature. Instead, the Dreyfus Affair became an epic cultural battle, waged heartily in the French press, between two political factions: The Conservative "My Country Right or Wrong" type, and the Progressive "When My Country Is Wrong It Should Admit Fault and Make Citizens Abused Whole Again" type. As far as I can tell the story-line represents pretty much the way it all happened. The downside of this true-to-fact-based story line is it becomes slow-going and a little tedious. A condensed, faster moving plot, leaving out the minor details, would have made for a better novel. Excepting a tendency to impose French accents on the characters, making the dialog difficult to understand in places -- it is an English language novel after all -- the audio reader does a good job. Modestly recommended.


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